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Title: French veterans and the Republic : the Union nationale des combattants, 1933-1939
Author: Millington, Chris
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 8872
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2009
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Since Antoine Prost's three volume Les anciens combattants et la societe francaise, 1914-1939 (1977), subsequent histories of the period have largely accepted the benign role of French Great War veterans during the interwar period. This thesis re-examines the history of the veterans' movement. Were the veterans integral to French democracy Did they reject political extremism in favour of a peaceful and Republican civic action Can one judge their associations to have been an important obstacle to the development of a French fascism What influence did the culture of the Great War, widely held to have been important in Germany and Italy at the time, have on French veterans These questions are addressed in a detailed study of the Union nationale des combattants (UNC) from 1933 to 1939. Through the examination of the association's political discourse and militant action, the thesis argues that the UNC challenged the democratic claim of elected representatives to lead France. The association's plans for reform of the state would not have left parliamentary democracy intact. The UNC undertook militant political action that endorsed illegality and mirrored that of anti-Republican extra-parliamentary leagues. Ultimately, the association was one of many actors that contributed to the destabilisation of the French regime in the years before the defeat in May 1940.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available